First, let’s define separation anxiety
Separation anxiety is a label used when a dog is left alone and exhibits bad behaviors. This is actually instinctive behavior in canines. Dogs are pack animals and they are safe in the pack. There is strength in numbers. When a dog strays or is left behind its instincts kick in ‘fight or flight’ behavior, which triggers the bad behavior. So when you leave your dog it’s not necessarily the dog missing you, sorry, abandonment triggers the behavior and puts your dog into panic mode. This is an instinctual characteristic designed to keep the dog safe in its natural habitat. Audible books for your dog’s separation anxiety substitutes a human presence which significantly decreases bad behaviors.
What are Audible Books
Audible books are a narrated voice book that is listened to out loud using a device such as the Amazon echo. Audible books can be played in multiple ways. The trigger here is to teach your dog that the audible narrator mimics having a unit of the pack still around, which enables the dog to relax. Cesar Millan has an amazing audible book that gives the data from the studies coupled with the psychology behind the training, check it out.
How does it work?
The key is to get your dog to associate the audible book with quiet time. When you leave your dog alone it triggers energy almost in a panic mode. The first step is to deplete this energy load by exercising your dog before you leave the house. This means implementing a morning workout routine. Cesar has some valuable ideas for indoor exercise: How to Exercise Your Dog Indoors. Exhausting the dog helps him concentrate. It’s the first step in using Audible books for your dog’s separation anxiety.
After depleting his energy put your dog in his quiet spot immediately upon entering the house. This could be any preferable spot where your dog typically naps, crate, dog bed, couch, under kitchen table etc. Then introduce him to the device that will play his audible book. He will start to associate this with quiet time and another member of the pack, or your family unit. When you leave the house do not shift your energy. Do not say goodbye, do not interrupt the Audible and your dog, simply leave the house. The concept is to make your dog believe that there is still a member of the pack in the house with him.
How to choose the right book
When choosing audible books for your dog’s separation anxiety there is a method. Almost sounds silly, it’s not like your dog can literally follow along with the storyline. But this is actually a valid decision in getting optimal results. Data proves that audible books yielded better results than leaving a TV on or Playing music…why? The TV and the music will shift in voice, tone, and volume, all of which can easily trigger a dog’s anxiety. Audible books are mostly monotone. The narrator’s voices vary in tone, and volume slightly yielding fewer triggers for your dog. Now think books and genres, if your dog has lots of energy try a children’s book, the narrator is typically a tender tone. Don’t forget to pick a long book. You want the audible book to play as long as possible.
Audible books for other anxiety level triggers
- While healing an injury typically accompanied by the all annoying cone
- Company or children having a household visit or gathering
- Fireworks and holidays
- Thunder and storms
If you found this article helpful, click here to view other informative blog posts from the Beach Dog.